Dutch parliament supports scrapping mandatory waiting time for abortion
A majority in parliament said they'd support scrapping the Netherlands' statutory "consideration period" for abortions. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, will vote on this bill by D66 parliamentarian Pia Dijkstra on Thursday, NOS reports.
Dijkstra submitted this bill almost a year ago, but the Rutte III coalition agreement stated that some medical-ethical issues would not be changed in its term. That resulted in MPs from the VVD, D66, CDA, and ChristenUnie being unable to contribute to votes on these issues. The Rutte IV coalition consists of the same parties. But the new coalition agreement states that parliamentarians can make "personal assessment" with several "pending initiative proposals" on medical-ethical issues. MPs don't have to adhere to parliamentary discipline on these "free issues."
The two Christian parties in the coalition, ChristenUnie and CDA, want to keep the mandatory reflection period. According to ChristenUnie MP Mirjam Bikker, care is required for abortion, and women should take the time to think bout the decision.
D66 party chairman Jan Paternotte does not deny that care is needed when considering abortion, but he is against the mandatory reflection period. It is unreasonable to think that women just show up at an abortion clinic without thinking about their decision beforehand. Paternotte called the statutory consideration period "wrong, paternalistic, and outdated."
The VVD, PvdA, GroenLinks, and SP said they'd support the D66 proposal, giving it an almost certain majority.
A parliamentary majority also supports a PvdA and GroenLinks proposal to let general practitioners prescribe the abortion pill used to terminate pregnancy in the early stages. That proposal is on the agenda for next week.